Craig Raine

Luck    To have lived
at the level of floorboards
and not to give    a toss

about Antaeus
or any of that

Only    the pleasing precision
of solid dirt
inlaying the planks

like a long leather bootlace

or finding    the perfect fit
of thumb to the palate

Carefully torn
wallpaper    sufficient
unto the hour

A mouth
I taste    everything
because I have    no taste

It is enough    this ignorance
these particulars
I kiss

The nails
surrender a patient light

their living daylights
a kind of dusk
or sunk    out of sight

like that blackhead    I prize
beside your eyebrow
deep    as your pierced ear

that tag on your neck
like a Coco Pop    scratchy

the white appendix scar
its warp    in the weft
like perished elastic

the linked Assyrian mail
the lair on your private parts

I am too deep in detail
too deep    to divine
your identity


or catch all that stuff
you keep singing    about sunsets

Listen    Just listen

Like Santa Claus
the milkman leaves a xylophone
he walks    down the gravel drive

listen    just listen
like someone eating

sugared almonds